Phase Two of Sh22b Dongo Kundu bypass takes shape
The face of Coast region is changing as the multi-billion-shilling infrastructure projects under the Mombasa Port Area Road Development (MPARD) takes shape, linking up Mombasa town and the South Coast, in what is anticipated to be one of the country’s most efficient road network.
The project is part of the Sh3.7 trillion worth of investment in the region under the Jubilee administration according to the Presidential Delivery Unit team which is on an inspection tour of the projects.
MPARD project is jointly funded by the governments of Kenya and Japan through its overseas development partner, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) at a cost of Sh28 billion.
The project, famously known as Dongo Kundu Bypass, is to be implemented in three phases.
The project also known as Mombasa Southern Bypass, is seen as the solution to congestion at Likoni Ferry, which is blamed for the slow growth of the south coast region.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the project has now entered a critical phase with construction works of the highly technical Package Two now on schedule and at an advanced stage.
Macharia announced that the dualling of 11.3km road from Mombasa Island to Kwa Jomvu section which incorporates the upcoming new Changamwe Interchange is now 90.3 per cent done and is set for completion in October.
According to the CS, the contractor working on the dualling of the road is almost entering the next phase of the project from Kwa Jomvu to Mariakani which he said will finally make perennial traffic snarl ups between Mombasa and Mariakani a thing of the past.
“Changamwe interchange will be one of the most modern interchanges in Africa and is due for completion by October,” the CS said.
Speaking at Mwache where construction of the Sh22 billion package two of the project in ongoing, Macharia said the completion of the phase two is considered critical because it is currently the missing link of the entire project.
Package two involves construction of a bridge of about three kilometres from Mwache interchange across the sea including a pile-slab type viaduct which connects to Mteza from where it connects with phase three all the way to Kibundani interchange that links up with the road to South Coast.
“Package one is complete and package three is almost 85 per cent done. Package two was the most critical bit because without it the entire project will not be considered complete.
At the same time, it is very technical because it involves construction works at the sea.
Once we are done with this, people coming from Nairobi will be able to go to South Coast without necessarily having to pass through Mombasa island,” explained the CS.
Ease of travel
Once package two is complete, Macharia said crossing from the port of Mombasa to South Coast will take 20 minutes after the Mwache Bridge is complete.
This, he said, will make Mombasa “extremely attractive” in terms of diversity it offers in the tourism sector.
“This project will decongest Mombasa and make it even more marketable for tourists. Ease of travel into South Coast will be a game changer as tourists will no longer endure the long waits to cross the ferry.
The impact on tourism will be huge,” he said adding that construction of package two is set for completion by 2023.
The CS also said the bypass will also provide access to the upcoming Mombasa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project at Dongo Kundu.
Senior Director at the Presidential Delivery Unit Polycarp Onyango said construction of almost 60 per cent of package two will be taking place at the sea.
At the moment, he said the subsurface technical part of the construction which includes piling, foundation building and precasting of the bridge beams is going on.
“By just looking at the site, it is difficult to see the amount of work done for package two, but actually we have done a lot.
We have cleared the bushes, and levelled the ground,” Onyango said adding: “Because of the technicalities involved, the 1.4km Mteza bridge will take more time, the earliest it can be ready is 2023.”
At the site, there is a yard where precasting is done.
According to engineers on site, at the yard, one beam weighing 80 tonnes is produced daily but they want to increase the production to three beams per day where by 282 beams are required for the entire project.
CS Macharia said the project is bound to build technical competence among local engineers as graduate engineers are now being trained on site.
“More than 50 engineers have been trained. We also have a robust training programme planned and our local engineers who would like to get a feel of marine construction, precasting of slabs and piling will benefit,” he said.
Kenya National Highways Authority Coast Deputy Director Eng Howard M’mayi said the total length of the three bridges is approximately 10km. Mteza Bridge is the longest at 1.4km, followed by Tsunza at 690 metres and Mwache at 660 metres.